It’s almost Black Friday, which for some marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, you’ll be able to find many deals on offer from a variety of retailers. This was originally an American event which takes place annually the day after the US celebration of Thanksgiving, but thanks to globalisation, the UK now has many Black Friday sales for consumers to make the most of as well.
Like everything this year, people have been wondering whether Black Friday will go ahead, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be answering some common questions regarding what’s happening with Black Friday in 2020, and we’ll be giving you advice on how to approach the shopping festivities in a more eco-friendly way.
Yes, Black Friday is happening, although not exactly in the same way as it did before in previous years. The UK went into a second lockdown on Thursday the 5th of November 2020, which meant that everyone was required to stay at home except for specific reasons such as going to school, university, work or to the supermarket to get food and other essential items. Non-essential shops were required to close, which includes many shops where people would have got their Black Friday deals from. All this is to say that if you want to get some Black Friday sales this year, you’ll need to look online.
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Black Friday happens at the same time each year, although it might not be on exactly the same date as the year before. Black Friday occurs on the fourth Thursday of November each year, which means that this year Black Friday will be on Friday the 27th of November 2020.
As consumers buying online, we’re often disconnected from multiple stages of the buying process, and we often only end up seeing a product in its final stage (listed on a website ready to be bought). This means that we might not think twice about adding products to our baskets from large companies such as Amazon, to later get them delivered speedily to our doorsteps. As consumers we need to make a concerted effort to engage in the whole process, so we can get a true sense of where our money is going.
There’s an environmental cost to all of the frenzied consumerism that occurs on Black Friday and during the build up to Christmas Day as a whole. The manufacturing, shipping and delivering of gift shopping creates a great deal of CO2 emissions. Products may be made in one country and then shipped to another, where they will be distributed in different areas. While as consumers it’s not completely our responsibility to deal with this issue (this should fall squarely on to governments to put pressure on companies to be environmentally friendly); we can still make individual efforts to care for the environment.
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We would recommend buying local or at least from within the UK. This means that you’ll get the opportunity to support small businesses near you that might be struggling to weather the restrictions placed on them by the government in order to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Why not see if small businesses near you have websites that you can order gifts from? You could also browse sites like Etsy which list small sellers that make and sell handmade items that would make a great Christmas present. If you’re planning on buying a new phone soon, you could get a phone case from one of these sites to protect it.
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If you’re shopping for Christmas, chances are you’ll have more than one product to buy. When buying from an online retailer, you should make sure that you buy all of the products in a single order. This will group your items together, which means less delivery vehicles on the road (or potentially only one). Looking specifically for electronics? Take a look at our recommendations for choosing a more environmentally friendly item.
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While many of us have become accustomed to rapid next-day (or two day) deliveries from Amazon, these come at an environmental cost. Next-day or two-day deliveries mean that companies do not have as much time to organise the efficient transportation of multiple items, which can mean more trips for less cargo, delivery vehicles that are not full, and items that may even have to be flown into the UK from another country to arrive in time. All of these variables make CO2 levels significantly rise.
The best way to avoid this harmful impact on the environment is by not selecting next-day delivery. On Amazon, you sometimes have an option for ‘no-rush’ deliveries, or you can select a specific day for your items to be delivered. This is particularly efficient if you have more than one member of your household buying something. Give yourself plenty of time this year so that you have time to get presents.
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